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very last post March 8, 2010

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I have tentatively created a new blog…



the last post May 8, 2009

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“Did the band play ‘the last post’ and chorus?, did the pipes play ‘the flowers of the forest’?” The Fureys

This is almost certainly the last time I will post at https://bangorra.wordpress.com

A poignant moment indeed not just for me, but for all the regular readers – thank you both.

I am leaving Bangor University to take up a new post at the University of Glamorgan on May 26th. It would be innaccurate to continue with this as my blog address at Glamorgan, therefore I’m hoping to start a brand new blog, I’ll link to it from here if and when it comes in to being.

The more senior members of staff might remember that I first worked at Bangor University library in the summer of 1989 – as a greasy-haired youth with motivational issues. I returned over some of the following summers, learning as I went, and paying off student debts in the process.

Snow Pics and also Library Pics 013

In this, my most recent and significant period of employment, I have made some valued friends, and they have made this place a pleasure to work in, even during what have been challenging times for everyone. One of the highlights for me was producing the Library video, a promotional and educative tool which utilised a number of groundbreaking film techniques.

I leave with all of the excitement a new job brings, but also with considerable regret. I hope that a number of you will keep in touch by email (wrightoid7@btinternet.com), Facebook, or indeed Myspace (www.myspace.com/wrightoid).

The rest, as they say, is silence.

“information skills” module – final session April 17, 2009

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We had our final session on Wednesday – when the students present their reflective accounts of what they have learnt throughout the course. This is always a special day because everyone brings in food, usually some kind of national dish. This year we had just 3 particpants but the food (from the Phillipines, the Maldives and Luxembourg) was still very exciting. I chipped in as usual with some (Welsh) samosas and Eileen brought some Scottish oatcakes + cheeses.


The presentations were quite varied but everyone demonstrated that they had engaged with the key learning outcomes for the module. Here are (left to right) Solah, Rosita, Lyane, myself and Eileen:


“Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.” Andre Gide

Lilac ’09 April 8, 2009

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I was in Cardiff last week for the 5th annual Lilac Conference, 3 days dedicated to information literacy. I’m not going to summarise every session I attended because I can’t remember what happened in some of them but here are some of my highlights:

Melissa Highton (University of Oxford)
Putting lectures and other content on i-Tunes U.
Who is responsible for permissions/curation/collection? – the library should have a key role, especially in providing rich metadata.
What’s the difference between ‘information literacy’ and ‘digital literacy’ (JW-nothing much, and it sounds better).

Conor Galvin (UCD Dublin)
How do we ‘manage’ the internet? It’s like the elephant in the corner of the room.

How do we engage with the ‘digital natives’/’millenials’/’next gens’? Should it be on their terms or ours? Is there a true ‘them’ and ‘us’? (JW-It’s not constructive to think in those terms). Are we familiar enough with social networking environments and how those environments affect the way people learn? (JW-No.)

Eithne Barry & Laurence Patterson (Napier University)
Virtual reference services in UK academic libraries. A summary of the findings of a UK-wide collaborative project. Conclusion – the best product overall is Meebo (and it’s free). We should have a go at trialling it, maybe just for a couple of hours a day initially?

Andrew Whitworth (University of Manchester)
‘Information Obesity’. We’re all too full of information. We’re eating too much junk information and not exercising enough critical evaluation. What impact does this have on learning? How do we help students filter what they consume?

Niall McSweeney & Margot Conrick (NUI Galway)
A collaborative project which has developed an online information literacy accredited module specifically tailored for the research community. The good thing is anyone can use this, or bits of it, free of charge. I really like this, but Ruth the talking guide might get on your nerves after a while!

Matthew Borg & Erica Stretton (Sheffield Hallam University)
“My students and other animals.” The best approach to Year 1 information literacy I’ve seen. Really inspiring. Students initially map their own information seeking behaviour onto an animal characteristic typology (I was half squirrel, half ostrich). Then they go on to do some simple searches, and discuss the respective merits of Google, Wikipedia etc.

Other things that happened:

-I drank too much free wine.
-I saw a man I used to work with but couldn’t remember his name, but it turned out he couldn’t remember mine either so it was fine!
-I saw ‘Statto’ (anyone remember him?) aka Angus Loughran waiting for a train.

“Searcher, there is no road. We make the road by walking” Antonio Machado

Psychology – Refworks session 13/1/09 January 13, 2009

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Thanks for attending today’s session.

You can download a guide to Refworks as a Word document by clicking here. A Welsh version will be available shortly.


i didn’t eat all the pies December 22, 2008

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Most of the students have gone home now as thoughts turn towards Christmas. I have all but one of my presents, and so far have eaten 2 mince pies – this is not an indication of self-restraint it’s just that I don’t really like them. However I think I would have liked them even less in medieval times when, according to Wikipedia they consisted of “fried or baked pastry containing chopped liver and other meats mixed with boiled eggs and ginger.” The same site also claims that “Oliver Cromwell made the eating of mince pies on Christmas Day illegal.” I wouldn’t have been rushing to oppose that particular law (although some of Mr Cromwell’s other actions were a bit unreasonable). Of course I’m assuming all this information is true but it does raise the issue of trusted information sources. The evaluation of information is just one of the topics we cover in the 6 week, 10 credit postgraduate module ‘Information Skills’ which starts again in Semester 2, please get in touch for more information.

I went to buy a new bath in B&Q at the weekend. The nice assistant pointed out one in particular that was on special offer. “You get a free plug with this one,” he said. “Why is it electric?”, I replied. This is, of course, not a true story but intended as a joke. Ha Ha!

Merry Christmas!

“There was so much handwriting on the wall that even the wall fell down.” Christopher Morley

refworks – give it a go! November 13, 2008

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Stop Press! We have a brand new reference management software called Refworks! Refworks allows you to import and manage references from any source – databases, catalogues, search engines, books etc. You can then produce perfectly formatted bibliographies or cite your references within your paper as you write. We had a really successful Refworks taster day in early November and the challenge now is to get as many people using Refworks as possible. I’m going to be scheduling more drop-in sessions over the coming months and producing some downloadable Helpsheets. To start using Refworks go to our library webpages and follow the instructions on creating your account. Please get in touch if you’d like further help.

I feel a little bit cheated today. Yesterday I purchased a bumper pack ‘mint assortment’ from a well known supermarket chain. I just wanted something to suck on during the afternoons. Only today when I opened the packet did I find that there were actually only 2 varieties of mint contained within – the humbug and something resembling a glacier mint. I think the producers of this pack need to think long and hard about their liberal use of the word ‘assortment‘, and I’ll be telling them as much in a sternly worded letter.

I’ve been enjoying my football again recently after a long injury lay-off . I am widely regarded as the Zinedine Zidane of the library team, essentially a creative midfield player with exquisite close control, a perfectly measured pass, and the ability to chip in with one or two crucial goals when called upon. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

“If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?” Thomas Huxley

here comes the sun June 18, 2008

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You always know that summer is here when the WHELF/HEWIT Gregynog Colloquium comes around again – an annual 5 day conference for Welsh HE library and IT professionals in the beautiful setting of Gregynog Hall. As one of this year’s organisers I was hoping everything would run smoothly and aside from the odd absent speaker I think it went well. I particularly enjoyed the 4 presentations included in the ‘new professionals’ section of the programme. There was a barbecue on the Tuesday evening in weather which just about allowed for outdoor activity. I had two sausages and a burger whilst catching up with one or two old friends. It was warm and sunny on the Wednesday and I did 2 laps of the ‘red’ trail through the woods, accompanied by the sound of woodpeckers and jays.

I made it down to Cardiff in the end for the filming of the Welsh music show ‘Bandit’. We filmed early on a Sunday morning in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the city – rock’n’roll! It was a good laugh mind you and we got paid as well so well worth the trip.

This week has felt noticeably quieter now that most of the students have departed. Summer means an opportunity to update and amend our training and promotional materials, in good time for the next academic year. And also perhaps the chance to go away somewhere sunny, to relax and to try out a new pair of flip- flops or cool shades. Get ready Rhyl I’m on the way…

“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing” Socrates (not the Brazilian footballer)

this week i have been mostly eating…cake May 7, 2008

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It was the final session of the Information Searching Skills module last week. There were just 5 students on the module this time around so by the end I really felt like I’d got to know everyone really well. For the final session everyone was required to give a 20 minute presentation. This comprised an account of the learning process they had gone through from the beginning to the end of the course – identifying information sources, the search strategy, saving results, evaluation, and using bibliographic management software. Everyone approached the task slightly differently but ultimately showed that they understood the course content and that they were able to apply what they had learnt to their own research. Since it was the final session everyone brought cakes or biscuits along, my favourite being the pineapple upside down cake (although I also enjoyed the bara brith and the cream scones and the pistachio and choc chip cookies).

On my Bank Holiday weekend I travelled down to Newtown to watch Bangor City FC in the Welsh Cup final against Llanelli. It was an action-packed and exciting game and the Bangor fans were in high spirits (many having been drinking for most of the day). It was only a shame that one so-called fan assaulted the Llanelli goalkeeper, taking a bit of a shine off the 4-2 victory. It was a surreal experience to consequently have a police escort to take us from the ground into Newtown’s picturesque and tranquil parkland with the police helicopter circling overhead.

Sôn am ‘surreal’ – penwythnos yma dwi’n mynd lawr i Gaerdydd i berfformio gân ar rhaglen teledu cerddoriaeth Gymraeg ‘Bandit’. Fel ‘Wrightoid’ dwi’n mynd i ganu cân o’r enw ‘Mae ‘na afon’. Tro gyntaf i mi wneud rhywbeth o’r fath beth, a mae’n rhaid dweud bod fi’n teimlo’n braidd yn nerfus. Ond mi bydd o’n profiad beth bynnag!

“I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it the right way, did not become still more complicated” Paul Alderson

Endnote workshop 24/4/08 April 24, 2008

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Here are a couple of Endnote guides that you can download:

Guide to Endnote 6

Guide to Endnote Web

If you have any questions please get in touch: john.wright@bangor.ac.uk

cheers, John